Appeal from the Order of the Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board in the case of Richard R. Hand v. Platt Brothers, Inc. and Ace Tire Company, No. A-81691.
Fred C. Trenor, Meyer, Darragh, Buckler, Bebenek & Eck, for petitioners.
Seymour A. Sikov, with him, Timothy P. O'Brien, Sikov and Love, P.A., for respondent, Richard R. Hand.
Richard L. Muchow, with him, Ralph A. Davies, Grigsby, Gaca & Davies, P.C., for respondent, Platt Brothers, Inc.
William J. Begley, Cauley, Conflenti, & Latella, for intervening respondent, Kenneth Shelton.
President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers and Barry, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr.
[ 101 Pa. Commw. Page 187]
A Workmen's Compensation Appeal Board order upheld a referee's decision finding Ace Tire Company (Ace) solely responsible for the payment of total disability benefits to Richard Hand and dismissing Ace's petition to join Kenneth Shelton as a party defendant. Ace appeals; we affirm in part and vacate and remand in part.
[ 101 Pa. Commw. Page 188]
Platt Brothers, Inc. (Platt), a general contractor, was hired to construct a new garage. Kenneth Shelton, owner of Shelton Excavation Company, submitted a bid to perform excavation and other work at the construction site. Thereafter, Platt and Shelton encountered difficulty obtaining the required performance bonds and turned to Ace to assist in this regard. Ace obtained the required bonding which named Ace as the principal and Platt as the obligee. Ace then became a subcontractor to Platt and, in turn, subcontracted the actual excavation work to Shelton. As part of its agreement with Ace, Platt required Ace to carry workmen's compensation insurance, although Platt paid the bond and insurance premiums. Shelton was uninsured. Hand, employed by Shelton as a laborer, was struck in the back by a falling tree and was rendered a paraplegic.
Hand filed a claim petition against Ace and Platt. Ace filed a petition to join Shelton as a party defendant and Shelton filed objections to the joinder. The referee issued a decision which granted total disability benefits to Hand, ordered Ace's insurance carrier to pay Hand's attorney's fees on the basis of an unreasonable contest, and found that Platt's responsibility as a statutory employer was avoided by requiring and agreeing with Ace to carry workmen's compensation insurance. The referee also denied Ace's petition to join Shelton as a party defendant. The Board affirmed the decision of the referee. Ace then filed a timely petition for review with this Court.
[ 101 Pa. Commw. Page 189]
Our scope of review in workmen's compensation cases, where the party with the burden of proof has prevailed before the referee, is limited to determining whether necessary findings are supported by substantial evidence, an error of law committed, or whether any constitutional rights of the petitioner were violated. Jones & Laughlin Steel Corp. v. Workmen's Compensation ...